Deco: Futsal will help India build soccer base

"Futsal can help because it does not need a lot of space, can be played in winter, summer, and when it rains. All the skills needed to be a professional can be developed and you need only a maximum of 10 players on the pitch," said Deco.

Portugese star Deco believes Futsal can be an effective way to promote football in India.   -  Special Arrangement

Former Portugese footballer Deco, who recently >signed up for the inaugural season of Premier Futsal , can’t wait to get back into action. The ex-Barcelona playmaker insists priority will be given to making football exciting for the fans.

“I am not so young, but will play. It will be nice for the people to know different sports and like the quality of players coming here. First thing is for people to have fun. In our part of the world, we enjoy playing and we try to give fans the same feeling,” said Deco.

Futsal, a modified form of soccer played with five players per side on a smaller pitch, is viewed as a separate sport in Brazil, where Deco grew up as a kid, and also in Portugal, where he became a pro. According to Deco, the game had a significant influence in his development as a footballer.

“It is a separate sport. A lot of big players are in futsal full-time. Most of the Brazilians played futsal and soccer. You start with futsal as a youngster, then at one point the choice needs to be made whether it is going to be futsal or soccer,” explained Deco.

“In my case, futsal helped develop my skills. You need to participate in every part of the game, need to defend and attack, be quick, think fast and act…..everything you need for soccer,” added the Portugal playmaker.

Deco believes Futsal can be an effective way to promote football in the country. “The first step is important when creating a programme in a nation as big as India. You need the base, for which you need a lot of academies which is difficult to set up.

“Futsal can help because it does not need a lot of space, it can be played in winter, summer and when it rains. All the skills needed to be a professional can be developed and you need only a maximum of 10 players on the pitch,” said Deco, who won the UEFA Champions League in 2004 with Porto.

Barcelona’s ‘Tiki Taka’, a close-passing game that came into prominence under coach Pep Guardiola, requires players to have quick-feet and great awareness — same set of skills that are required in Fustal. And Deco believes there is a connection. “Spanish players, like Brazilians, start with futsal when they are young. The good thing is they bring the futsal skills to soccer,” he said.

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